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Sunday, September 14, 2014

NORTHERN LIGHTS OVER NEW BRUNSWICK

Location:  Little Lepreau, New Brunswick, Canada

Date Time:  September 12, 2014 2030-0200hrs

Weather:  12 degrees C @ 2030hrs, 7 degrees C @ 0200hrs and 3 degrees C at 0630hrs the next morning. Frost covered the windshield.  Garden had to be covered.  A few high wispy clouds and some light winds from about 2130 to just after midnight.  Lots of dew until the wind picked up.  Good viewing even though the moon was quite bright.

Attendance:  Ed O, Carla M, Leah C, Jeremy K, Jessica K, Becky L, Bradly H, and Myself

Equipment:  8" Meade LX200 Telescope, 30mm 2" eyepiece and OIII filter, Dew Heater and Dew Shield, 20x80 Binoculars, tripod, Canon Xsi DSLR camera with 18-55mm and 75-300mm lenses and Nexus 4 smartphone camera.

Objective:  To view and image the Northern Lights, Comet Jacques and the Moon.

Report:  My friend Ed O from the Saint John Astronomy Club attended this observing session.

We started off looking north for the Auroras from 2030 to 2130hrs.  A slight glow with the slightest hint of green, but could not confirm The Northern Lights naked eye at this time.  We used this time to align the scope on Deneb which was straight up to the East just after sundown.

Used GoTo to direct telescope to M27 which is close to Alberio.  Used keypad to manually direct telescope to Alberio.  Telescope easily spit this beautiful double star system with one star a light orange, the other an electric blue.  Had many views of Alberio on this evening, as this was the jump off point we used to search for Comet Jacques. The 20x80 binos also split Albireo and also showed their respective colors.

As I was taking an image of the sky above Alberio with the camera and 75-300mm lens piggybacked to the telescope, Ed exclaimed, "LOOK, THE NORTHERN LIGHTS!!!!"  There were a bunch of family and friends that happened to be out on the deck at this time.  We all quickly looked north and were amazed.  Everyone say the bright rays of green, red and purple shimmering and moving.  It was huge and was truly amazing!  The first that I have ever seen from New Brunswick, and the first that Ed observed here since 2003!

At this time, 2145hrs, the GoTo was used to direct telescope to M81 which was in the Northern sky.  Used direction pad to position scope, put 18-55mm lens on camera, then took four or five images of The Northern Lights.  Took a 30 second exposure, then 3-1 min 30 second exposures.  The Moon rose at around 2200hrs and quickly washed out the Northern Lights.  Not sure if it was a coincidence or if the Lights simply died down at the same time the Moon came up.

After this...together, Ed and I spent over two hours searching the sky around the bottom part of the Northern Cross, Cygnus for Comet Jacques, all the way to Sagitta.  We used the binoculars, telescope and even too time elapse images of the area where the Comet was reportedly suppose to be.  After all the searching we could not confirm a sighting of Comet Jacques.

Ed did find M27 The Dumbbell Nebula.  We both observed it a few times with the telescope, 30mm eyepiece and OIII filter.  It looked like a dark patch with shape.

Then directed telescope to the Waning Gibbous Moon.  Many creators were seen.  Took images with smartphone and then uploaded them to the Smartphone Astronomy facebook page.  Tried the OIII filter and it didn't help much, but it did cut down on the glare..

Many satellites were seen and several shooting stars were seen, with Ed and I both seeing one at the same time.




Red and Green show interaction between charged particals from the Sun and Oxygen in our atmosphere.  Purple and yellow intractions between Suns' charged particles and Nitrogen in our atms.  The charged particles come from a Coronal Mass Ejection from the Sun.



This was the image of the area where Comet Jacques was suppose to be.  It may be here in the image...


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